Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Let's get cooking!
I joined Weight Watchers about a month ago. Since then I've been sharing my dinner plates on my Instagram account (find me: justjinny) with the Smart Points value. I asked on my Facebook page if anyone would be interested in the recipes I try out. I got enough YES responses back to decide that I'd start sharing my recipes here.
I want to pre-face this by advising I am not a real cook...I just play one in my kitchen. Some of these recipes are made up, altered, and eye balled so my measurements and timing might not be exact. You'll have to use your own judgment and cook at your own risk.
Let me start with last nights dinner.
I'm calling it Lemon-garlic spaghetti with broccoli, chickpeas, tomatoes, and sweet bell peppers.
A mouthful, I know.
I wanted to make spaghetti but without the red pasta sauce and with more vegetables (that is really key with WW...more vegetables and fruit for everything). So I did a quick google search for "spaghetti, broccoli, and chickpeas" and browsed around for a template recipe. The recipe I decided to work off of called for 3/4 cups of olive oil..for a recipe that serves 4-6 people. 3/4 cups of olive oil is 50 Smart Points people. It also called for 1 pound of rigatoni pasta (48 Smart Points), a cup of parmesan cheese (14 Smart Points), and 19 ounces worth of chickpeas (12 Smart Points). Obviously I was going to have to modify this a bit.
So here is what I used:
3 servings of 100% Whole Wheat spaghetti (a serving is about 2 oz. You might have a handy way ot measuring out spaghetti...I eyeballed it)
1/2 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 lemons (for the zest and the juice)
Two heads of broccoli, chopped up into florets (or you can buy the pre-packaged kind)
Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1-2 mini-sweet bell peppers, cut into strips
1/4 cup Shredded mozzarella cheese, fat free
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Italian seasoning blend
Salt and Pepper
Start a pot of water to boil, be sure to salt it.
After draining and rinsing the chickpeas, throw those in a small bowl with half of the olive oil and about half of one lemon's juice. Zest a little of the lemon on it too. Add salt and pepper and set the bowl aside.
Once the water is boiling, throw in the broccoli and let them soak in there for a couple of minutes. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a colander and rinse under cold water. Add your pasta to the same boiling water and let it cook until it's however tender you like it.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat up the remaining olive oil (I know it doesn't look like much, but it's enough) and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until garlic is golden. Add the broccoli, tomatoes, and bell peppers to the skillet and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the bowl of chickpeas and cook until heated through. This is a good time to add more lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning. It's all to taste, so do it up however you like.
Drain the pasta, but keep about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta and the water to the skillet with everything else. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until everything is coated with the "sauce". Now, I'll tell ya'll...there really isn't a sauce, really. It's just not thick enough to be called that. But the liquid does have flavor, so that's what you want to try and get all over everything.
Again, take a taste and see if it needs any more seasoning. Add what you need, you'll notice I didn't really tell you where to add all the lemon juice. It's really up to you and what you like. I like a lot of lemon zest and juice, so that's what I used.
Top with the shredded cheese and serve while warm.
It was very flavorful but light...probably because of the fake "sauce". I like all the different textures with the broccoli and the chickpeas. The recipe I started from didn't call for tomatoes and bell pepper, I just decided to add those in there. For a pasta dish, it wasn't too bad on the points. 10 Smart Points per serving of pasta. The original recipe would have been at least double that. Overall, for a "let's just add this and put a little less of that" type of dinner, it ended up being a pretty tasty meal.